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Dividing Up Real Estate After Divorce

Ask the Real Estate Lawyer: Real Estate Law Q&A

REM # LAW 670

By Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin

Summary: A reader was able to gain sole ownership of her home and pay off her husband prior to filing for divorce. Now she is worried that he can make a claim for the house during the divorce proceeding. Ilyce explains that the house may be safe, but all her assets will be considered when the divorce proceeds.

Q: I was able to get my husband to quitclaim our home to me. I refinanced the loan and paid him off.
(article continues below useful links)

Now I've been told (and I have not spoken to a lawyer) that he could still ask for get half of the house through a divorce settlement. He left me and I'm filing for divorce. He said he would not contest the divorce but he needs money.

Can he get the house?

A: The short answer is probably not. If you paid him off and he got his share of the home, it’s very unlikely that he would prevail and get the home in the circumstances you have outlined.

Keep in mind, however, that the home is only part of the divorce settlement. If there are other assets that haven’t been divided and there is value in those assets, depending on who owns the assets, he may owe you money or you may owe him money. You should really consult with a divorce attorney, not only about the house but about all of your assets.

Finally, the amount you paid your husband after your refinanced the home, would come into play in determining what amount he should be entitled to in a divorce, if he is entitled to anything.

Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Ilyce R. Glink’s latest book is 50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Sell Your Home Faster and For More Money In Any Market. If you have questions for them, write: Real Estate Matters Syndicate, PO Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022 or contact them through Ilyce’s website




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